Data production in Thailand’s fast-paced digital economy and society is forecast to jump four times over the next three years, resulting in massive demand growth for data storage facilities.
According to Sunita Bottse, managing director of Supernap Thailand, a major data centre provider, the number of Thailand’s mobile device users has reached 46 million out of the country’s 69 million population, while the number of Internet users is currently around 27 million, up 24 per cent from the previous year.
The widespread use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Line, Twitter and Instagram, coupled with the high growth rate of e-commerce, social commerce and mobile commerce platforms have led to a huge increase in personal and other data needing secured storage facilities to meet regulatory, privacy and other legal requirements.
For example, Thai banks have to be in compliance with the Bank of Thailand’s regulations on data residency and privacy. Bottse said Supernap Thailand’s data centre at Hemaraj Industrial Estate 2 in Chon Buri province is regarded as one of the most secure facilities in Asean and meets the so-called Tier IV design and operation standards.
The joint venture between Supernap International and Thai partners has already seen about US$100 million (Bt3.28 trillion) invested in the first stage of its Thai facility. Another $300 million is earmarked for further expansion in Thailand, where the current facility has a total land area of 120,000 square metres.
The first-stage facility has two data halls with a combined capacity of 20-megawatts built on an area of 21,000 square metres. The power capacity is equivalent to the electricity used by 6,000 households.
Supernap holds many patents for co-location data centre designs and mission critical operations, including those for dual independent roofs to withstand up to 322 km/h winds and seven layers of physical security surveillance.
One of the most advanced facilities in Asean As one of the most advanced facilities in Asean countries, it is served by eight neutral carriers for global high-speed connectivity required by enterprises in the digital economy as well as by electronic government and other public services.
Bottse said Supernap Thailand aims to tap the data storage demand in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which covers Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, where the government has been offering tax and other incentives for foreign and Thai investors to launch digital and other new technology ventures.
Previously, Japanese and other foreign investors were worried about flooding in some areas of Thailand, so Supernap Thailand chose its site in Chon Buri at 110 metres above sea level. High-security data centres also have to ensure that there is no downtime of the facilities, which need power redundancy and other features to meet the Tier IV standards.
Since its opening in the last quarter of 2017, Supernap Thailand has acquired clients for half of its capacity with the remaining leases expected to be sold out in two years.
The Thailand 4.0 initiative has led to a rapid growth of the digital economy along with more use of Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) in various sectors, especially banking, insurance and other financial services.
For example, many Thai banks have moved their customers to mobile platforms and provide pre-approval on mortgage and other loan requests online, resulting in the use of analytic and massive personal data storage.
The market for data storage has expanded 30 per cent over the past year alone, with a hybrid cloud-based model emerging as a preferred choice for on- and off-premise facilities.
For banks, some data are stored on premises, while non-core applications are stored on the cloud service. Supernap Thailand has a number of cloud partners, including AWS and Azure.
According to Thai law, some primary banking and other data cannot be stored outside Thailand.